All things history and genealogy.

All things history and genealogy.

A Primer on Cemetery Research to Find Ancestors

A Primer on Cemetery Research to Find Ancestors

What’s the best way to find out where someone is buried?

There are many ways to find where your ancestors are buried. The first is to look at any records associated with their death, including certificate of death, obituaries, church notices, and other funerary documents. Consulting similar information for spouses, siblings, children, and parents can also sometimes lead you to the right information. If you know your ancestor’s religious affiliation, it’s possible to find out if there’s a church or community cemetery. Consult local records and histories.

Finally, there are a number of cemetery guides online that can help you locate an ancestor’s gravesite. You might also want to try and that can be very helpful in locating family members and their information.

Making the most of a cemetery visit.

Whether you’re already near a cemetery where an ancestor is buried or you’re making a special trip, there are several things you’ll want to do to make the most of your visit. The first is to bring a copy of any information you have about the ancestors, such as names and dates of birth. If you have a map or details of the cemetery, bring those as well, as large burial grounds can be difficult to navigate.

To document as much information as possible, bring paper and writing implements or electronic devices to record information and make any notes. Consider bringing a digital camera with you to document the cemetery, individual headstones, and the relationship between specific stones that may be useful later. Avoid taking grave rubbings, if possible. It’s a source of conflict but most people today feel that the risk of damage to the stone is too high. A high resolution camera now yields a wonderful degree of detail.

A final note on the logistics of cemetery visits for cemetery research: dress appropriately for being outdoors, and think ahead to things like bug spray and sunscreen. Wear a hat, and bring plenty of water as your visit may be a lengthy one. If the cemetery you’re visiting is on private property, get permission first. If the cemetery in question has a caretaker and you’re able to find them, spend a moment saying hello and explaining your mission. They may have valuable information. Finally, if you’re headed into a cemetery that’s overgrown, isolated, or in an unknown area, consider bringing a companion for both company and safety.


A professional genealogist can help you with all types of genealogical issues, from completing all your research to answering specific questions about cemetery research. If you’re currently in need of guidance or assistance with your research, contact a professional genealogist today to arrange for a personalized consultation. You’ll soon be on your way to successfully identifying where your ancestors are laid to rest and getting to visit them in person.

Jillynn Stevens is a writer and researcher. She is the Director of Digital Content Marketing for Be Locally SEO where she enjoys helping clients expand and improve their businesses through articles, blogs, website content and more.

Price & Associates is a prestigious genealogy research firm serving clients from all over the country and abroad. They are located in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Article Source: Jillynn_Stevens, Ph.D., MSW

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